Second Boeing whistleblower dies of ‘infection’ after fellow’s gunshot wound death

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Joshua Dean, Boeing whistleblower dead after sudden illness. —X/Reuters

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, who made headlines after blowing the whistle over the safety concerns and alleged misconduct by the aircraft-maker, died on Tuesday after a severe infection, family members reported  on Thursday.

It is highly disturbing to note that Dean is the second Boeing-linked whistleblower to have lost his life within two months after accusing the aircraft industry giant of covering up technical faults in one of its aircraft.

Dean was one of the first to allege the manufacturer knowingly overlooked the defects in the notorious 737 MAX — which may have led to aviation accidents.

The whistleblower died after a “short and sudden illness”, the Seattle Times reports.

Dean, 45, a resident of Wichita, Kansas, was hale and hearty, per family, when he started complaining about troubled breathing about two weeks ago.

He was rushed to a hospital, according to the Seattle Times, which broke the news of his death. “Dean’s deterioration from that point was “brutal” and “heartbreaking,” his aunt told the newspaper.

Dean’s mysterious death follows the demise of his fellow whistleblower John Barnett, who died from a gunshot wound that police are still investigating.

Both whistleblowers were being represented by the same law firm based in South Carolina.

After Barnett died in Charleston, the same South Carolina city where Boeing has its 787 manufacturing facility, the coroner in its report declared the whistleblower died of a “self-inflicted gunshot injury.

“They found him in his truck. I don’t know what to say. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life,” one of his lawyers Brian Knowles told reporters.

Boeing in a statement said: “The company was saddened by Barnett’s death”.

Knowles refused to speculate on the “close timing and circumstances” of the two deaths.

“Whistleblowers are needed. They bring to light wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. It takes a lot of courage to stand up,” Knowles said.

“It’s a difficult set of circumstances. Our thoughts now are with John’s family and Josh’s family.”

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